On 17 January 1911 Johann Leonhard Bernthal, age 89, passed away. Neither businessman nor politician, news of his death was published across the state and, indeed, even made at least one national outlet. The last original pioneer of Frankenmuth, when Frankenmuth became the northern frontier of settlement in Michigan, was gone. The end of an era, noted.
“Last Pioneer of Frankenmuth Dies,” Detroit Free Press, 19 January 1911, p. 6. The Free Press included a photograph of John Leonhard Bernthal.
“One Founder of Frankenmuth Dies: John L. Bernthal, 89 Years Old, Came to this County 65 Years Ago,” The Saginaw (Michigan) Daily News, 18 January 1911, p. 6, cols. 4 & 5.
“Last Pioneer of Early Band Dead: John L. Bernthal Succumbs at age of 89–Was One of First Settlers,” The Kalamazoo (Michigan) Evening Press, 19 January 1911, p. 2 or 3, col. 5.
”Passing of the Last of the Old Pioneers,” The Frankenmuth (Michigan) News, 19 January 1911, p. 1; digital image, Frankenmuth News Archives (http://www.frankenmutharchives.org : accessed 15 January 2014).
”Church News and Comment: At Home [item 1],” The Lutheran Witness, vol. 30, no. 5, 02 March 1911, p. 38, col. 1. “The last of the men who participated, in 1847, at Chicago, in the founding of the German Missouri Synod, J. L. Bernthal, died recently in Frankenmuth, Michigan.”